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Baby black holes chirp as they’re born, just as Einstein predicted

Two Black Holes Merging

Scientists have heard a “baby” black hole for the very first time, and the sounds it makes is just like a chirp.

Physicists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found more proof that Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity is correct, according to Einstein predicted that the creation of a black hole would produce gravitational waves and sound like a sort of ringing. The pitch of the waves could signal the black hole’s potential mass and spin. 

The findings were published on Wednesday in Physical Review Letters. 

“We all expect general relativity to be correct, but this is the first time we have confirmed it in this way,” Maximiliano Isi, a NASA Einstein Fellow in MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, told The experiment also tried to determine whether the black holes have “hair” — Einstein’s metaphor for mass, spin, and electric charge.

“This is the first experimental measurement that succeeds in directly testing the no-hair theorem. It doesn’t mean black holes couldn’t have hair. It means the picture of black holes with no hair lives for one more day.”

The black hole’s sound waves were detected by Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) back in 2015. Scientists described the sound as “a waveform that quickly crescendoed before fading away,” or, something resembling the sound of a “chirp.” 

Scientists said that the loudest part of this “chirp” indicates the exact moment when the two black holes collided, creating an entirely new black hole. 

LIGO will continue to be used to detect these sounds, and scientists hope that they will be able to hear even more newborn black holes in our vast universe. 

Scientists are trying to learn more about the elusive and mysterious black holes that make up our universe. In April, astronomers were able to capture the first image of a black hole located in Messier 87, a galaxy 55 million light-years away. 

Closer to home is the black hole known as Sagittarius A*, which is in the center of our galaxy. This particular black hole has seen a hotbed of activity recently—emitting bright flares of energy and rapidly glowing 75 times brighter than normal for brief periods. In May, Astronomers from the University of California Los Angeles observed the flares of near-infrared wavelength light, which were the brightest ever seen. 

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